Dylan Hopkins, UAB Upset No. 13 BYU to Win 2021 Independence Bowl

Adam WellsDecember 19, 2021

UAB running back DeWayne McBride (22) breaks free for a touchdown run during the first half of the Independence Bowl NCAA college football game against BYU in Shreveport, La., Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
AP Photo/Matthew Hinton

Dreary weather in Louisiana couldn't bring down the UAB Blazers, who defeated No. 13 BYU 31-28 on Saturday to win the 2021 Independence Bowl.

Heavy rain in the Shreveport area briefly delayed kickoff, but it cleared up as the game kept going.

Both starting running backs dominated on the ground. DeWayne McBride racked up 183 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries. Tyler Allgeier carried the ball 27 times for 192 yards and three scores in the loss.

Trea Shropshire scored the game-winning touchdown for UAB with 6:17 remaining in the fourth quarter. He caught a 14-yard pass from Dylan Hopkins in the end zone after BYU took a 28-24 on its previous possession.

BYU came into the bowl game riding a five-game winning streak. The offense was averaging 48.5 points in its final four games of the regular season.

Notable Game Stats

  • Dylan Hopkins, QB (UAB): 19-of-23, 189 yards, 3 TD, INT
  • DeWayne McBride, RB (UAB): 28 carries, 183 yards, TD
  • Gerrit Prince, TE (UAB): 4 receptions, 43 yards, 2 TD
  • Baylor Romney, QB (BYU): 15-of-23, 195 yards
  • Tyler Allgeier, RB (BYU): 27 carries, 192 yards, 3 TD
  • Gunner Romney, WR (BYU): 3 receptions, 55 yards

This turned out to be a back-and-forth high-scoring affair. UAB's scoring outburst was especially surprising because it only ranked 59th in the nation in points per game during the regular season.

The Blazers looked like they were going to dominate right out of the gate.

After both teams traded punts on their first possession, UAB scored touchdowns on consecutive drives to go up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.

McBride scored the second one on a 64-yard run. He showed no lingering effects from the ankle injury suffered in the regular-season finale against UTEP that kept him out for the entire second half.

BYU stormed back in the second quarter with two scores of its own to tie the score at 14.

The Blazers regained the lead before halftime with a nine-play, 78-yard drive that was capped off by Gerrit Prince's 23-yard touchdown catch from Hopkins.

Allgeier tied the score for BYU with a 62-yard touchdown run. The sophomore running back set a new school record for rushing yards in a season in this game.

Bleacher Report CFB @BR_CFB

Tyler Allgeier having an unreal season ๐Ÿ˜ณ <a href="https://t.co/Fi7E0KrQTM">pic.twitter.com/Fi7E0KrQTM</a>

UAB regained the lead with a field goal on its first possession of the second half.

BYU responded with a 52-yard scoring drive, capped off by Allgeier's touchdown from one yard out. The Cougars took their only lead of the game, 28-24, at that point.

BYU's only turnover of the game came at the worst possible moment. Samson Nacua caught a pass at UAB's 28-yard line, but he lost possession of the ball and Mac McWilliams recovered it.

The Blazers picked up four first downs to run out the final 3:18 of regulation and secure the win. Their nine wins this season are tied for the second-most in program history.

Even though BYU's season ended on a down note, head coach Kalani Sitake has the program trending in the right direction. The Cougars have won at least 10 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since doing it four times in a row from 2006 to 2009.